Friday, October 2, 2020

Entomology 101

 You already know of my love of Hercules beetles and how I maintain a rotational 2 year grub nursery in the back of the manure pile.  I look forward to August when, attracted by my open doors and lights, they fly into the house.  Most nights, I pair up one male and female to do the wild thing in my carport.  I'm quite the match maker.

I'm not fond of all bugs:  fire ants, cow killers, yellow jackets, scorpions, black widows... all hated, but I save special hatred for chiggers.  Unseen to the naked eye, these fiends plague me from Spring till frost.  They hide on grasses and drop onto you, pursuing tight clothing where they can burrow into your skin and cause the most insane itching.  From 6 years of trial and error, I've concluded that wearing pants makes it worse.  I've spent months looking like a leper with feet, ankles, backs of my knees and underoo area blanketed with bites. Loose shorts is the only way to go. 

Back to more pleasant creatures. Butterflies trip over each, they're so plentiful in the gardens.

But, my heart belongs to the moths. Scorned as boring and killed by the billions by those infernal bug zappers, their subtle beauty attract me.  The last batch of luna moths flittered around last week.

Regal moths, like this one below, often stop by the barn at night.  

With a 6" wingspan, they are truly regal.  

I never saw them 6 years ago, now thanks to much, much reduced chemical usage on the farm, their numbers are increasing.  I'm crossing paths with their caterpillars more often.

You can't miss them:

In order to become a Regal Moth, first you must spend a year being a Hickory Horned Devil.  They only come down from trees to look for burrows to overwinter.  This one was crawling across the gravel drive.

Promptly relocated to deep leafy woods:

They look ferocious, but they're not.

David Attenborough, eat your heart out.  

A praying mantis flew into my house 2 evenings in a row.  The first night, I struggled to catch her to put her back outside and she eluded me.  Only when I was brushing my teeth before going to bed did I see her looking back at me in the mirror, from her perch on my mop of hair.

We sorta bonded after that.


Life in all it's complex diversity, isn't it grand?